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Congress Calls Its Maharashtra Cabinet Ministers To Delhi; Cabinet To Be Rejigged: Sources

Amid the Sachin Vaze-Param Bir Singh controversy, sources state that Congress has called all its Maharashtra Cabinet ministers to Delhi on Friday for rejig

Maharashtra

Amid the Sachin Vaze-Param Bir Singh controversy, sources state that Congress has called all its Maharashtra Cabinet ministers to Delhi on Friday, hinting at a cabinet reshuffle. Recently, several cabinet ministers like Eknath Shinde and Anil Parab and Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole had met CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP Supremo Sharad at CM's official residence 'Varsha' Bungalow - a day before Mumbai Commissioner Param Bir Singh's transfer. The Congress is a junior member in the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. 

Pawar meets Thackeray

In the meeting, Pawar had reportedly urged Thackeray to transfer Param Bir Singh and raised serious allegations against ex-Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod in the Pooja Chavan suicide case. Reports state that an NCP leader had objected to Vaze's transfer announced by Home minister Anil Deshmukh, stating that the MVA government cannot cave into Devendra Fadnavis' demand. Vaze - a former Shiv Sainik - was initially luded by Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece "Saamana" for his 'honesty', while BJP has alleged  that Vaze was in constant touch with Mansukh Hiran - owner of the bomb-laden SUV found near Ambanis' residence, who was found dead on March 5. Later, Shiv Sena and NCP claimed that Vaze and Param Bir Singh were shunted out 'due to lapses' leading to 'damage in Mumbai police's image'.

Congress rejig

Recently, Bhai Jagtap took over as the Mumbai unit chief and Nana Patole as Maharashtra Congress chief, as Congress seeks to be a more 'aggressive partner' in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. Moreover, with Nana Patole's resignation as Maharashtra Speaker, both NCP and Shiv Sena have claimed that the Speaker's post was now up for grabs by any of the alliance partners. Congress also eyes to contest solo in the BMC polls, inspite of CM Uddhav Thackeray saying that Sena, NCP and Congress will battle the BJP jointly to retain the BMC.

Since Maharashtra govt's cabinet expansion in January 2020, discontent in the Congress party surfaced between Maharashtra cabinet minister Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat with both senior leaders reportedly demanding the Revenue and PWD portfolio. Moreover, other Congress leaders like Nitin Raut and Vijay Wadettiwar too had demanded the PWD ministry. While Thorat and Chavan were allotted the Revenue ministry and the PWD ministry respectively, Raut, Wadettiwar and Sunil Kedar were among 10 ministers of the Congress who found a place in the new government.

However, the choice of certain leaders is ministers and portfolio allocation seems to have not gone down well with a section of Maharashtra Congress. Moreover, Congress Mumbai Congress General Secretary Vishwabandhu Rai has written a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi stating that the party is being sidelined in the state government and the NCP is "weakening the Congress party like termites weaken wood". Recently, Congress has been miffed with Shiv Sena's comments on Sonia Gandhi's UPA chairmanship with Chavan saying, "Sena not part of UPA".

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